For all of Instagram's utility in deep stalking established models, mining for could-be talent on the app is still something of a shot in the dark. It certainly happens: Guess discovered one of its spring models on the platform, while Marc by Marc Jacobs held Instagram casting calls for both its fall 2014 and spring 2015 campaigns. But while a few modeling agencies and casting directors are already in the practice of using Instagram to find new faces, it's not exactly an institutionalized part of the scouting playbook.
Yet. In mid-December, IMG launched an Instagram account called "We Love Your Genes," which could grease the skids to discovering models through the app. Posting a photo with the tag #WLYG will land aspiring models in front of the agency's scouting and development team. It's not unlike the old practice of sending in a headshot and full-length bikini photo...but in this case, your portfolio can be a few hundred photos deep and you have more of an opportunity to incorporate your personality.
"Instagram allows us to see potential models' natural beauty in their everyday lives. They no longer have to spend lots of money on photo shoots or portfolios," Jeni Rose, the VP of scouting for IMG, writes in an e-mail. "Instead, they can come directly to us with simple smartphone snapshots and a lot of enthusiasm."
For wannabe models, that's awesome. As Rose points out, it's also nice for scouts, who used to spend hours on planes "hoping to be in the right place at the right time."
Of course, trolling through Instagram photos — not to mention parsing what someone would look like unfiltered and at a normal angle — changes scouts' workflow somewhat.
"We’ve been scouting via social for awhile now and have developed proprietary methods to help us identify the best possible talent," Rose says. "Those methods are now informing special tools we’re building in-house that will help us move quickly and decisively while tracking thousands of accounts."
Since it's launched, We Love Your Genes has amassed 5,500 followers and 14,626 uses of the #WLYG tag. A rep for the agency did not immediately respond to request for comment as to whether any girls have been signed through We Love Your Genes.
With Fashion Month coming up in February, we're particularly eager to see if any Instagram-cast faces make it onto the catwalk. It would certainly throw some added weight behind this kind of program.